Category Archives: suffering

  1. Low points and high spots (Acts 6.1 – 7.2a, 44-60; Luke 23.33-34a, 46) [sermon 4-30-2017]

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    April 26, 2017 by jmar198013

    Many look to the book of Acts as a blueprint for how the church ought to be, but it’s really more of a portrait of how the church was–and often is.

    Luke makes sure we see both the low points and the high spots of the first decades of the church. We see some of these in our lesson today, as the church deals with a problem of neglect of minority widows; overwhelmed (and out of touch?) leadership; and the brutal lynching of one of its ministers. These stories all show us both low points and high spots in the life of the early church.

  2. Opening the scriptures (Luke 24.13-35) [sermon 4-23-2017]

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    April 22, 2017 by jmar198013

    Jesus still journeys with his church, just as he did those two disciples on the way from Jerusalem to Emmaus. And every time we take and bless and break and share the bread that is his body and the wine that is his blood, the crucified and resurrected Jesus is our host. He is made known to us. We can join with the disciples who first proclaimed: The Lord has risen indeed! And we can know that because he has been raised from the dead, so will we.

  3. Good fences make good neighbors? (Luke 16.19-31) [sermon 3-26-2017]

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    March 24, 2017 by jmar198013

    The rich man—who was used to getting his way—wouldn’t let up. “No, Father Abraham!” he argued. “But if someone from the dead goes to them, they will change their hearts and lives.” Abraham said, “If they don’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, then neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.” And that gives the story a new twist. Because we know Jesus, the one telling the story, would himself rise from the dead later. But even that wouldn’t convince a lot of people. When you invest yourself in getting more stuff, gaining more status, and winning at any cost—like the Pharisees—you become blind to many things.

  4. Falling towers and fruitless fig trees (Luke 13.1-9, 31-35) [sermon 3-12-17]

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    March 8, 2017 by jmar198013

    The story of this fig tree receiving special attention—extravagant mercy and generosity—calls us all to see ourselves as that tree. Like Jesus said elsewhere: “Much will be demanded from everyone who has been given much.” We’ve been given much. Maybe we need to see a warning hidden in all our blessings: a judgment is coming if we don’t bear fruit worthy of repentance.

  5. Dreams and schemes (Gen. 37.3-8, 17b-22, 26-34; 50.15-21; Luke 6.35) [sermon 09-25-2016]

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    September 22, 2016 by jmar198013

    Joseph had big dreams. His brothers had twisted schemes. But God had dreams and schemes of his own.

  6. The resurrection of Job (Job 42.7-17) [Sermon 08-07-2016]

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    August 5, 2016 by jmar198013

    Job 42.7-17 describes Job’s restoration to life–I like to call it a resurrection–after an intense period of loss and suffering, and a crisis of faith. God calls Job to intervene for his accusing friends with sacrifice and prayer. Job is restored when he does this priestly duty.

    Job is restored to life and the human vocation–to be God’s priests, representing God in his earthly temple. God blesses Job as Job chooses to embrace life with all its risk. Job takes back up the human vocation to be fertile and multiply; and take charge of the beasts. So God blesses him with ten children, and double the animals he had before.

    Job’s restoration gives us all hope for the time described in Rev. 21. When the heavens and earth will be renewed as God’s temple forever; God will wipe away all tears; and dwell among his people.

  7. The LORD answers Job (Job 31.35-37; 38.1-11) [Sermon 07-24-2016]

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    July 8, 2016 by jmar198013

    After Job suffered multiple injustices, he saw that the world is often not predictable, orderly, or fair. His eyes were opened to a world of unjust suffering. And he wanted to know why God allows such chaos and evil.

    God appears to Job in a whirlwind, and shows Job that God is not the author of chaos and evil. God has been fighting against the chaos, and working to restrain evil, from the beginning. And he challenges Job: “Gird up your loins like a man!” In other words, God calls Job to come off of his ash heap, and be involved in life. God calls Job to join him in the hard work of fighting against chaos, evil, and injustice.

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chronicles

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